2006-2016 A Legacy to Address Food Poverty
Healthy Food for All closed its doors in March 2016 due to a lack of sustainable funding. As part of its final action we produced a legacy document to mark Healthy Food for All’s ten years of operation and the handing over of its work to other groups. As part of its legacy this website will continue to be made available as a resource. The legacy document included the following Call to Action:
The election of the 32nd Dáil, the putting in place of a new programme for government and the centenary celebration of 1916 give us an opportunity for a new vision for the period ahead. Over the next five years, Healthy Food for All is asking advocates to build on our work over the last 10 years by highlighting the link between food and the obesity crisis, mental health issues, access to education, income adequacy, well-being and the creation of healthy environments.
Specifically, we are asking advocates and policy makers to commit to the following five actions over the next five years:
1. National Food and Nutrition Strategy
We need a national food and nutrition strategy that ensures the affordability, accessibility and availability of healthy food to all people in Ireland. Such a strategy must involve all the relevant Government Departments and be developed in partnership with the food and farming industries, consumer groups, the community and voluntary sector, international organisations, business and the public. Those who experience food poverty must be centrally engaged in the development of Ireland’s National Food and Nutrition Strategy.
2. Maintain and highlight trends in Food Poverty annually
Healthy Food for All was involved in the development of the first headline food poverty indicator, published in 2012 showing that 450,000 people in Ireland were experiencing food poverty at that time. This figure increased to 600,000 in 2015. The Department of Social Protection includes this data in its annual Social Inclusion Monitor. This indicator can help us monitor progress on tackling food poverty as well as hold the government accountable for measures it takes to address this issue. This data needs to be investigated in the context of the implementation of national policies on planning, health, education and income adequacy.
3. Develop and deliver on a National Food in Schools Strategy
While the budget for the School Meals Programme has increased our research shows that schools still need additional support in terms of capital funding costs and training for staff. Government’s work on school food provision is carried out through five departments and this should be coordinated through one lead agency or department. Finally, measures to address food poverty among children need to be rights-based and underpinned by the State’s international legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights.
4. Develop a funding stream for community food-related projects
A five-year investment of €2.5 million from Government in Community Food Initiatives is needed so there is at least one such Initiative in every county. Community Food Initiatives improve the availability and accessibility of healthy food for low income groups at local level through community gardens, cookery/nutrition classes, community cafes, supermarket tours and budgeting courses.
5. Planning at national and local government level includes requirements for a range of healthy food outlets
National and local authorities should include provision for access to healthy food in relevant planning decisions. In addition they should implement a No Fry Zone and safeguard our school children from future exposure to fast food outlets.
For more information see the Press Release.